Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), Britain’s biggest managed pub and restaurant operator, has announced that chief executive Adam Fowle is to leave the company by mutual consent after a period of two years in the post. The company said that a search process was underway to identify a successor, which will be announced in due course. The group said that Jeremy Blood, who is currently a non-executive director, will take on the role of interim chief executive until a permanent successor is appointed. Fowle will remain with the company for a period to ensure “an orderly and effective transition”. Fowle became chief executive of M&B in August 2009. He had previously been in the role of acting chief executive after the departure of his predecessor Tim Clarke back in May that year. He joined the board of M&B in October 2007, when he was appointed managing director for restaurants. With more that 20 years of experience in licensed retailing he joined the company in 1984. He was also retail director at Sainsbury’s for two years before going back to M&B in 2005 as business development director. The company, which said it was performing in line with expectations, will continue to focus on its strategy to develop and grow Mitchells & Butlers' market leading brands. Simon Burke, chairman, commented: "Adam has made a significant contribution over a number of years to Mitchells & Butlers and in particular in the past two years, developing and leading the strategic change the company has undertaken whilst maintaining a strong operational performance in challenging conditions. He leaves the company in a much stronger position than when he took over as chief executive and we wish him all the best for the future. "Jeremy has significant industry and corporate experience and I look forward to working with him during this interim period." M&C Report comment: The departure of Adam Fowle from Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) without a successor lined up suggests that the managed operator's chief executive is the prime mover behind this surprise announcement. M&B has gone through several years of boardroom strife culminating in the move to make John Lovering chairman a little more than a year ago. Industry sources report that Fowle and Lovering had a strong working relationship, but many were surprised to see Lovering step down so early in M&B's strategic plan to double the size of six key brands. The decision by Fowle is another shock given M&B has, as yet, only opened a handful of new sites in retail parks and the wider strategy is still in its relatively early stages. Observers are speculating that Fowle has grown tired of the boardroom strife that has been a constant at M&B over the past few years - or else has been unable to strike up a working relationship with new chairman Simon Burke. One well-placed source told M&C Report this morning: "My reading is that he's had enough. Simon Burke is the fifth chairman in three years. His departure is very much to the detriment of M&B - Adam has been a very good chief executive in the past years and has spent a total of 23 years at the company. Adam has probably wanted to get on with running the company and its to his credit that the company has maintained such strong operational focus despite the boardroom distractions. But there comes a time when any chief executive wants to focus on operations and not be distracted by constant changes of tack at board level." The interim chief executive Jeremy Blood, a non-executive director at M&B, formerly ran Scottish & Newcastle UK and before that, Scottish & Newcastle Pub Company and so has limited experience of running managed pubs - he also currently chairs LT Pub Management, which runs around 1,000 tenanted and leased pubs. The favourite internal candidate to take on the chief executive job is marketing and strategy director Adam Martin, who has overseen the company's successful launch of television advertising campaigns in the past year.